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Wonderfully wild, all green or all white, all lit up or in dazzling colour, the Laurentians comprise a resort area with a capital R!
This region is on Montreal’s doorstep – its vast spaces, plains and valleys, hills and mountains, forests, lakes and rivers to be enjoyed through an impressive range of resort activities. Just imagine – ideal spots for canoeing, biking, golfing, rafting, swimming, fishing, hunting, skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, dog-sledding, ATVing… In short, a paradise for anyone hooked on nature!
“Go North!” as Montrealers like to say. The Laurentian region is internationally renowned as the largest concentration of downhill ski runs in North America. Tremblant, the first major ski resort in Canada, with its lively tourist village designed in the style of “Old Quebec City” boasts the highest summit in the region (935 m).
Finally, the Laurentian region is also about charming little villages bursting with boutiques, bars, artisans, restaurants and cafés for you to enjoy at the end of a day spent outdoors in the gentlest of atmospheres. The region’s numerous festivals and events add extra spice and joie de vivre to a memorable outing.
A resort area up on the summits!
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Flavours of the region
Small, diversified farms with a vocation for tourism and agriculture will help you discover a terroir rich in delicious products.
Here you’ll find vineyards, maple sugar bush, orchards, cider houses, cheese makers and honey producers; sheep and rabbit farms; less traditional - bison, boar, ostrich and deer farms. Caribou, fallow deer and small game meats are all excellent accompanied by cedar or balsam jelly.
Something more unusual – here they conserve wild bulrush hearts and milkweed buds, said to be as tender and delicate as hearts of palm or artichoke. Finally, greenhouse market gardens, which are becoming a specialty in the region, produce tomatoes, lettuce and edible flowers, among other crops.
It was in the Laurentians that the first mechanical ski lift in North America made its appearance in 1932 on the Big Hill of Shawbridge (Prévost). A young champion jumper from Montreal named Alex Foster invented this amazing mechanical device, which worked off the rear wheel rim of a 1928 Dodge and was connected to another wheel rim fixed to a pole on the summit of the slope. While some skiers refused to cling onto this contraption, the era of climbing breathlessly back up on foot was being revolutionized! His invention allowed downhill skiing to overtake Nordic skiing, and gave birth to several ski centres.
Curé Labelle of Saint-Jérôme, nicknamed “King of the North” was the person responsible for the Laurentians as we know them today. Mobilizing the people in his community, he arranged for a railway line in 1879 to transport lumber to Montreal. Following his wishes, his successor, Curé Grenier extended the line to Mont Laurier in 1909. Although it was the Norwegian engineer, “Jack Rabbit” Johannsen who popularized cross-country skiing, the famous “P’tit Train du Nord” arrived in 1928, in time to meet the growing demand of city-dwellers for this sport. It ran until 1960 and in 1996, its track was turned into a linear park: a 200 km trail system for cyclists and skiers. This is now the longest bike path in the world.
A little history
Did you know?
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